Once again, it is almost the end of a month….how does time fly so fast? I have been remiss in my bi-monthly ezine writing and only have 7 to show for the year so far. I had better pick up the pace!
Speaking of picking up the pace, Houston and his crew of fellow Pepperdine students successfully completed walking the 500+ mile Camino de Santiago in Spain. Super proud of him.
Here is a photo of their JOY.
Before I get to more about Houston's big adventure, I had better share a score. The QC challenge for July was to clean off your junk table, junk shelf or just plain junk dumping area and get that stuff listed. Check out this amazing item that Mo and Lori found when helping me with this task.
Seriously, I had paid $5 for this set months ago and it just sat there unlisted. If I had only known. The bottom line is you just never know until you actually list something on eBay!
But back to my kids (who I also Love). After Houston's 500+ mile walking journey following the path that St. James took from the south of France to Santiago, the kids took a three hour bus ride to visit Finisterre Spain. It is on the coast and is best known as the place where early settlers decided the world ended and that is why it is called Finisterre (Finis for Finish/End and Terre for ground or earth). Back then they did think the earth was flat until Christopher Columbus proved them wrong .
Here are Houston and some of his compadres (friends) sitting on a wall at the end of the earth. I LOVE this picture. Houston is third from the left wearing a Reyn Spooner Hawaiian shirt that we got him at Revivals Thrift store (in that HUGE batch of new with tags resort wear that they had about a year ago).
I think I paid $20. His freshman college year uniform was Hawaiian shirts. He has decided that for his sophomore year, which he will be spending in Heidelburg, Germany, he will wear Pendleton Flannel shirts as his uniform. Cracks me up.
Soon after that picture was taken, the Pepperdine kids embarked on their 24 hour journey home…by plane, train and automobile . Indy and I were so excited to see House (the Goose) and pick him up from LAX safe and sound on August 1st! Thank GOD. So happy to have him home.
Here we are in the airport.
Houston didn't have much time to settle in back at home before it was time to fly to Bellingham, Washington on August 5th. Indy, Houston and I were flying back "home" for my Mom's (Mor Mor's) 80th birthday party. Seriously, August has been a whirlwind .
It was a scheduling nightmare to figure out when we could celebrate my mom's big day. Her real birthday is August 18th but Indy was going to be staring back to school on August 17th and had to be at a school retreat on Friday the 12th at 5 pm. Somehow, we managed to fly out on August 5th and back in to the desert on the morning of August 12th so that it all worked out.
Here are the kids on the plane to Bellingham--which they do consider home--even though we have lived in Palm Desert for 14 years. They crack me up!
While on the airplane, I sold a Tracy Porter Small Serving Tray for full price. I am very hesitant when buying Tracy Porter because her dinnerware tends to get a lot of small chips and nicks. Not a very fine quality dinnerware nor was it fired at high enough temperatures to prevent easy damage. Nonetheless, I just loved this Asian inspired pattern and spent $200 for the set at an estate sale close to my office. This one tray sold for almost $100. I am almost completely sold out of this pattern and I only purchased it a year ago.
We landed in Bellingham at about 2:30 pm on Friday, August 5th and it was time to go to work. We had a ton to do before my mom's big party on Sunday, the 7th at 2pm.
About a week before our trip, I started bugging my mom about what she would like for her birthday. Of course, I already had a few gifts purchased but it is always nice to make sure the birthday girl gets something she really wants. She kept saying, "I just want all of you here to celebrate." Well, that just doesn't cut it does it?
Then one morning she called me and said, "I just read a great article about getting organized. It said to buy a spiral notebook and write down your 'to do' lists, and longer term goals so that you will have all of your to do lists, notes and ideas in one place and you won't lose anything." I was like, "Are you kidding me"? I have been carrying around spiral notebooks for the past 15 years and doing just that. "Seriously mom, you didn't notice?"
Here is a photo of my archived notebooks (and archived black yearly planners) on a shelf in my office. I know my mom didn't really believe me that I have been doing this for so long so I just had to put the proof in the ezine . Just like the "proof is in the pudding."
Since I have been buying and using notebooks in this manner since circa 2000, I am a notebook pro! I told my mom to forget about finding one and that I would take care of it. I have figured out that each of my notebooks last about 6 months and my favorite ones are designed by Agatha Ruiz de la Prada. A Spanish artist whose notebooks have a heavy plastic cover. I LOVE these!
Here is a photo of a few of them on my "shabby chic" coffee table. By the way, I collect couches so our house and my office have a lot of coffee tables (to go with the couches). Current count on couches is seven. Three in the living room, one in the family room, one in my bedroom, one in Indy's room and one at the office.
I always write the start and finish date, my cell phone number and my address in the front of each notebook. Interestingly enough, the notebook that is on top of the pile was from 2002 when we moved from Bellingham to Palm Desert. It had my Bellingham address on Hawthorne Road with an arrow pointing to our new home on Tudor Lane in Palm Desert. These notebooks are really fun and handy to flip through when you need to find important data or wonder what you were doing on a particular day. I also think that this may be another sign that it will be time for me to move back to Bellingham from Palm Desert when Indy graduates in May of 2017. Full circle.
Here is a link to the Agatha Ruiz notebook that I found for my mom on Amazon.com. My mom LOVES purple. Sorry eBay, I still buy most of my new items on Amazon (with Prime) because I can count on the guaranteed delivery date.
BTW, this notebook was only $13.50 with free prime shipping when I bought it on July 31st. Even though Agatha Ruiz de La Prada is the designer these notebooks are most likely found under Miguel Ruiz. Not sure of the connection between the two but search by both keywords. I make sure to buy the 8 ½ by 11" notebooks with the vinyl clear covers.
I have always believed that eBay is best for unique one of a kind collectibles and great bargains and Amazon is best for brand new items. I am feeling very confident that eBay is intent on supporting us OOAK unique sellers again (especially after the eBay open). They are not trying to be Amazon and Amazon should definitely not try to be eBay. Stick to the knitting as I learned when I got my MBA from USC which basically means stick to your core competency .
I was recently interviewed by Ina Steiner and helped write an article for Auction Bytes (Ecommercebytes now). You can check it out here. I am very excited about the new direction that eBay has taken since their 20th a year ago and I hope you can feel my excitement in this article about anchor stores.
I attended Sehome High School and we were the Mariners. In the front of the school was a huge Anchor. I was meant to have an anchor store! I remember having our picture taken in front of that anchor for student government. Both my brother, Lee, and I were Student Assembly Reps. Check out this picture of my brother in the middle left hand picture and me in the bottom right side picture. We are both standing in almost the same place with our hands in our pocket. Also check out the picture of Glen Beck (yes that Glen Beck) in the top left hand photo. He was the General Commissioner. I emailed this photo to my brother and he said "lots of hair in the photo." LOL.
OMG, I have completely gotten off topic again…but what a fun detour . But back to preparing for the party. When we arrived at my mom's beach house she had a full page of to do items in her "new" notebook. Huh?
Once I had ordered my mom a few of those awesome notebooks and had them shipped directly to her home (under my name) I called her and said "DO NOT OPEN ANY AMAZON BOXES addressed to ME". She didn't listen. I got a phone call on August 2nd and she said "they are beautiful". What are you talking about? The notebooks. Seriously mom? She explained that it was a good thing she had opened them because she needed them NOW. It is pretty cute, she calls the new "notebook" her "brains".
About the time we started crossing things off of her "to do" list my dad and stepmom Sue showed up to see the kids. Thank God!
My dad was able to rally the troops (Houston and Indy) to put together the new fire pit for the party. My brother would not be showing up until about 9 pm on Saturday night (the evening before the party) and as we would say "Lee O'Clock" as he always shows up at the perfect time. For example, once all the work is done, once dinner is served, etc. His timing is impeccable. So thank goodness my dad was there to help put the new fire pit together.
While they were out toiling in the beautiful summer weather on that project, I was inside listing and taking offers on eBay. Check out this teapot that I sold for a best offer of $100. I paid $100 for the entire set. Gotta love eBay.
We did a lot of other odds and ends that evening to get ready for the party on Sunday and then the next morning (Saturday), my mom and I had to be at sales first thing in the am. First up, the "We Snip" sale. I found about 8 flatware sets that morning plus two Sid Dickens tiles. I had to buy baggies full of miscellaneous flatware to sort and make those 8 sets but I am sure glad I did.
Here is a link to one of the flatware patterns that was in a miscellaneous baggie and I got enough pieces to make about 15 listings. Yaya! Also, I have sold $40 worth so far at auction. The beautiful thing about buying things in Bellingham is that I can list them while there and ship them back home before they even sell .
Here is one of the Sid Dickens tiles I got. I have collected these since 1996 when I sold my first greeting card line to Sunrise/Hallmark/Internet and treated myself to a new white couch and some memory blocks from a super chic store in Vancouver, BC, Canada.
I still have the white couch…. Duh! Of Course! And all of my memory tiles. I decided to try and sell the two I bought at auction starting at $99.99. Although, once I got one of them listed and realized the title was "Two Sisters" I am really hoping it doesn't sell so I can add it to my collection. I really miss my sister.
Here is a special throwback Thursday photo of Kiki and I sitting in our family room at 500 Bayside Road in Bellingham. Check out that orange shag rug, the orange cat and our orange hair.
After the We Snip sale, my mom told me about a sale she had visited the day before that had some Sterling Georg Jensen Acorn flatware for sale. It was priced at $1800. It has always been my dream to find a set of Georg Jensen flatware for a bargain price. I have NEVER found any at all!
My mom wanted to wait until Sunday to see if the price came down and I said "No way…we are going there now for two reasons. One, if they have Georg Jensen they have other great items and two, Sunday is your birthday party and we will NOT be going to any sales."
So, she agreed and off we went. While my mom negotiated for the Georg Jensen and tallied up the high retail prices for each piece, I spotted a Russian Enamel Spoon in the case. I didn't even need it to be taken out of the case for me to know. Thanks to my grandma, I have an "eagle" eye for antiques, just like she did.
It was marked $125 and they thought it was cloisonné. It was a type of Russian enamel cloisonné and I bargained them down to $100 and bought it. I figured I could probably sell it for about $500. My hunch paid off and one week later, after a bidding war, it ended up selling for over $500. Nice profit for a seven day turn around don't you think?
My mom ended up buying the Georg Jensen for $1400 and she has already sold $505 at auction and the rest is currently for sale in her eBay store at fixed price. She is going to do great with this set. If you want to learn how to make a lot of money selling flatware, check out my Flatware Success eBook here.
This listing is particularly funny because as my mom was writing up her sterling, I was trying to list on eBay and we were sitting at the same table (big mistake--I am her personal eBay hotline). She kept interrupting me to ask what piece do you think this is as the dimensions and shape don't match anything on Replacements.com?
Well, there is nothing I like better than a challenge, so I got on Google which lead me to the Georg Jensen website and I finally found that the egg shaped oval spoon we were trying to identify was an oval bouillon spoon. If ONLY we had looked at the original bag which very clearly stated Bouillon. Boy did we get a laugh out of that one!
Days like that one with my mom remind me of similar days with my grandma. We would sit around her round oak table with a stack of reference books between us and attempt to price new stock. It would take hours (there was no Google, Terapeak or Worthpoint back then). We would often just give up and count to three and both say a price at the same time. More often than not, we would name the same price and bust up laughing!
Here is a photo of my grandma on the front porch of her antique and gift store at 2828 Northwest Avenue.
It is hard to explain all of the amazing things my grandmother taught me. The scope and breadth is huge and it amazes me when I see something (like that Russian spoon) and innately know that it is good…thanks to her .
I was very lucky to grow up hanging around her and working in her shop. She was such a pioneer and started teaching classes on antiques back in the 1960's and I came across her notes the other day. I have been hoarding these notes and knew that someday I would use them to write a book on antiques. Check out the shoe box that they were in with "Antique Book" written on one side and "Lee Repair" is on the other. So we used that box for jewelry that my grandma wanted my brother to fix (He is a GIA certified Jeweler) and as a place for me to store her notes.
What I find so fascinating about my grandmother and her notes is that she was super organized and gathered her information from not only antique magazines like , but also from reference books and from personally visiting every important museum in the world. Well, practically!
Here is a picture of me when I was six years old and we were in the Victoria & Albert Museum in London. That is my mom behind me. Don't I look thrilled to be there?
I am super excited to announce that I have started writing that book. I am sorting all of her detailed class notes by letter of the alphabet and so far I think I have at least one subject if not 10 for each and every letter of the alphabet (except for X) but I am not finished .
I am going to call it Antiques from A to Z by Cheryl Leaf and Lynn Dralle. In this new eBook I am going to share my grandmother's writing and then my take on that subject in today's eBay world. What is really awesome is that I will be able to share about rare pieces that weren't necessarily signed and hopefully teach you how to have that same "eagle" eye and be able to turn $100 into $531 in just a week. Watch for more info soon!
But back to the Saturday before my mom's birthday party. After our fun day saling, we had to head to Costco to purchase all the food. One place you will NEVER find me is at Costco on a Saturday afternoon. But there we were! We were on a mission and were in and out of there in under 45 minutes time.
While at Costco I did sell this awesome doll house hanging chair for a best offer of $40.
Unfortunately, the sale didn't stick because the lady emailed me to say she bought it thinking it was LIFE SIZED. Seriously? Yes, you can get a super heavy metal chair for only $40 plus $9.95 shipping.
Later that evening, my brother arrived from LA and Sunday morning we started decorating for the party. It was a huge success! We figure there were probably about 50 people that came by to celebrate that day.
Here is Indy preparing her super special cupcakes.
Houston made Sangria with a recipe directly from Spain.
Here is my mom with my sister's two best friends, Tara and Missy, along with Houston and Indy.
Two Queen's Court members even showed up. Vicki Pene Pasta from Idaho and Bev Helton and her husband Bob from Mt. Vernon. Too fun!
A big surprise for me was when the Thornberg sister's made their way into the party! I LOVE Teresa and Susan and we grew up across the street from them. Teresa is an ophthalmologist in Bellingham and Susan lives in Seattle so it was super fun for me to see them since I haven't seen them in a while. And my best friend from 6th grade, Leslie Arntzen, was also there . I got a candid pic with those three and my kids.
As the party was winding down, we got a second wave of guests, my mom's beach buddies and she finally got to open her presents.
The next day we realized we had NOT taken a family photo. Darn! So when my dad came to pick up the kids we grabbed my mom's neighbor Barb and snapped a "recreated" party photo. Unfortunately, my sister's kids (Zach and Kai) were in Oregon and weren't at the party or in the photo.
The rest of our time in Bellingham was a blast and a whirlwind. One highlight was a historical boat cruise around Bellingham Bay. Here is the group getting ready to board. My mom had organized it and invited her beach buddies (who are also in her beach book club) so there were quite a lot of us.
Here are the kids and I on the bow taking a silly selfie.
Here are the kids on the boat as we leave a natural dry dock right off of Chuckanut Drive.
I have to say that it was nice to get back to California and relax! Well, that is hardly the word for it. Actually, we arrived back in Palm Desert at noon on Friday, the 12th and it was time for me to do some shipping! Indy had a meeting at school that night and we were all back in work mode.
Time for a score. I bought this pitcher at an estate sale for $10. Sold this morning for full price or $92.59 after my promotion of 10% off anything over $50. I have only had it listed since June 27, 2016. Nice!
If you live in the Midwest or want to plan a Chicago trip this October, don't forget that I will be teaching a class at EcomChicago. I am excited to share more of my grandmother's tips and tricks in person and help you all succeed at eBay! I can't wait to attend this amazing event for the first time! And my mom and Mo will be joining me. I am looking forward to seeing many of you there. For more details, check it out here.
For those of you who missed the incredibly AWESOME teleseminar about Gold Jewelry yesterday with Sherri Mertle. You can still preorder it at the intro price. I extended the offer by one day
Her tips and tricks were super timely for me as I just emptied my safety deposit box in Bellingham and have quite a bit of gold jewelry (mostly rings) that I wasn't sure if I should list on eBay or sell for scrap. Now I know! Sherri was super prepared and even included an AWESOME 12 Page PDF handout for the call.
Here is a photo of my jewelry (well the rings anyway). Some of the price tags are even written in my grandmother's handwriting. That is how long our family has owned these. My grandmother hadn't priced gold rings since back in the early 1990's so we are talking (at least) over 25 years ago. Oh, so hard to let go!
More info on thatShould You Sell Your Gold for Melt or on eBay? Teleseminar. It gets tricky as the price of gold has been increasing.
Here is the outline for the call:
Top 10 Things You Will Learn:
How to identify gold (gold hallmarks and what they mean
The importance of testing gold and options for testing it
How to determine the value of your gold item(s) based on the current spot gold price.
How to decide if your gold item(s) should be sold for scrap or as individual jewelry pieces.
Is it best to sell your gold on eBay or locally?
Which eBay categories are best for gold jewelry and scrap gold
What eBay item specifics are required for gold
Best keywords to include in your title
Most important details to include in your description
Options for selling scrap gold and jewelry locally
Check out these emails that came in right after the teleseminar ended....
"FANTASTIC CALL SHERRI!!
Been reading Sherri's comments on QC....this was my first time to hear her voice. GREAT JOB AND SO INFORMATIVE!!! Inez"
What a jam-packed teleseminar from Sherri! I've learned so much that I never knew about identifying and selling jewelry on eBay. Well-organized information with fun stories and anecdotes. The handout alone was fabulous!
Thanks Sherri! And Lynn and Mo for hosting this today. Diva Dawn"
OK back to my crazy life. Once we got back home from Bellingham, Indy had her first day of school. Yes, she is a senior this year. This does mean, that in about 9 months, I will be headed towards an empty nest! The Goose has flown the coop and Indy is the next one out Yay! Or Nay! Not sure yet, but pretty excited to see how it all shakes out. Still thinking about keeping a place here and moving back to Bellingham to re-open my Grandmother's store but with a complete MAKEOVER!
Indy's first day of school was Wednesday, the 17th. She had to be at school by 5:30 am for the Senior Sunrise. So of course, I got up with her to take the routine first day of school photo. There was no way to rouse Houston at that point, so it was just her. She is a HALO (an older student who guides a younger student) this year for a Freshman named Grace. I actually can't think of a better nickname for Indy than Grace. She just embodies love and all of what goes with Grace so I really appreciate this photo of Indy holding the sign she made to welcome her HALO Grace to Xavier.
I wasn't at the Senior Sunrise Ceremony (duh…I went back to bed it was 5:30 am) but this candid photo of Indy hugging one of her friends, after the ceremony, really touched me. She is making the sign of peace (with what looks like dove wings with her hands) behind her friends back (without even realizing it). This photo gives me Goosebumps.
OK, I have a little bit more to share about Indiana, but must interject with a crazy mission I invited Mo to join me on this week. Since March, I have been receiving phone calls from a really nice lady. My estate sale friend, Kate, had given her my number. She would be moving to Florida and wanted to know if her things were worth selling to me or donating.
Thank you Kate! In any event, Mo and I headed out there and it just wasn't worth our time because she had the things that used to sell in my Grandma's antique store that just don't sell anymore. B&G plates from the wrong years, cups and saucers, Hummel figurines etc. I did end up buying a few rubber dolls (paid too much) so that I could justify my gas and time but they were super damaged. This is a really hard part of the business. Telling someone that they should "maybe" just donate their stuff or give it to relatives because no one wants it anymore. Ughhhhhh!
Here is a listing for one of the Rubber dolls and it is the one that is the best condition. Keep in mind that the other one has a toothbrush holding its head on the base. Seriously? And that toothbrush happened to be stamped with my dentist Dr. D's name. Small Valley? I think so. Actually, I am going to show you the toothbrush headed damaged doll.
After that melancholy visit, we headed to the Goodwill where I TOTALLY Scored. Yes, you heard me right! I Scored! Bought some Arabia Finland dinner plates for $1.49 each that are worth $99.99 each on Replacements. YAY! And what is even weirder, I already owned this pattern and before I even listed the new plates, I sold these 3 different salad plates in the SAME RARE pattern for $195.00 the NEXT day .
OK back to Indy girl. She is house president this year at her high school and co-hosted the Family House rally last Thursday night. I am seriously proud. She has no FEAR. That is a wonderful trait. She wrote the script, MC'd it, lived in the moment and ROCKED the house. Way to go Indy!
Here is a photo of her in her gold tights, purple Gonzaga shirt, cape etc. with us .
Here is a post that Houston put on Instagram of her dancing in front of 1,200 people. LOVE this!
The rally was seriously fun and when the tug of war competition came up, Houston was one of the first to volunteer as a House sibling. They WON! Way to go Gonazaga house!
Here is Houston walking back to the bleachers (in a different Reyn Spooner Hawaiian Shirt than the one in the original Camino picture) with the crazy look of "we won" on his face. Notice how his sister is still MCing the program right above his head.
One last score to end this ezine and to end a super busy month. Can't wait to be writing more ezines once things quite down. Wishful thinking I would imagine.
OK, I must clarify….this really isn't a score per say. It is more of a letting GO. My grandmother had an amazing marble collection and when she passed away we split the collection into 4 portions. These portions were completely random and packaged up by our employees. My ¼ of her marble collection sold for over $500 but, that was back in 1999. My brother's ¼ of her collection sold for just under $300 this past week and he had to share it with me since I listed it and sold it for him.
As you may have noticed, this is volume 12. I have been writing my ezines for at least 14 years! When we first started over 14 years ago (and I was still living in Bellingham, WA) we didn't even put volume numbers on them! Wow!